A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 27, 2004
Harlem Globetrotters
The Harlem Globetrotters are a combination of basketball and vaudeville. The club began in the 1920s as the Savoy Big Five -- in Chicago!

The frequent, hapless opponent of the team is the Washington Generals.

http://harlemglobetrotters.com/history/tl_1920s.html 1926
Abe Saperstein, age 24, organizes and coaches a new basketball team, "Savoy Big Five," named after famous Chicago's Savoy Ballroom. The ballroom was designed after the New York version with the same name. The Savoy Ballroom was located above a movie theatre at South Park and Kedzie, and featured most of the big bands of the day. Back then, business fell off and the owners of the Savoy decided to schedule basketball games in order to lure people to the Savoy for dancing after the game. The Savoy agreed to sponsor Saperstein's team and thus the "Savoy Big Five" was born. Basketball did not do much for the business at the Savoy, and the idea was eventually dropped. As the team disbanded, several members agreed to join Saperstein's newly proposed touring team. "Savoy Big Five" consisted of Tommy Brookings, William Grant, Inman Jackson, Lester Johnson, Joe Lillard, Randolph Ramsey, Walter Wright, and William Watson. Jackson, Johnson, and Wright formed the nucleus of the first Globetrotters team.

1927

Saperstein's team makes its debut on January 7 in Hinckley, Illinois, before a crowd of 300. The total payout for the game was $75. The team wore uniforms with NEW YORK on them; no doubt in giving the crowd the impression they were from that city. Saperstein would later add his family name to the jersey thereafter, "Saperstein's New York Globetrotters." The Globetrotters traveled on-the-road packed into Saperstein's Model "T" Ford.

21 January 1928, The Afro-American (Baltimore, MD), pg. 9, col. 3:
In Chicago
Theatres
(...)
SAVOY BALLROOM
The Savoy Ballroom has been running at full blast since the first of the year. Since organizing a basketball team, Savoy Big Five, several games are staged weekly, bringing here such teams as Howard and Wilberforce Universities.

3 December 1928, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 30:
Chicago Bruins to Meet
Savoy Big Five Tonight

1 December 1934, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 19:
The Harlem Globe Trotters, traveling basketball team, will meet a quintet made up of former college stars in the Loyola university gymnasium, Loyola avenue and Sheridan road, Friday night.

16 March 1966, New York Times, pg. 45:
Abe Saperstein Is Dead at 63;
Owned the Harlem Globetrotters

CHICAGO, March 15 (UPI) - Abe Saperstein, the basketball entrepreneur who built the Harlem Globetrotters into one of the world's best-known road shows, died tonight in Weiss Memorial Hospital of a heart attack. He was 63 years old.

Clowning Plus Wizardry

Under "Uncle Abe's" razzle-dazzle direction, the Harlem Globetrotters became the busiest, funniest and certainly most astonishing basketball team in the country, if not the world. The team was a superb blend of clowning and basketball wizardry, of vaudeville and solid basketball skill.
(...)
Abe Saperstein was born in London and came to the United States as a boy with his nine brothers and sisters. As a youth in Chicago, he played semiprofessional baseball and then drifted into pro basketball, earning $5 a night.

He soon took over the reins of an all-Negro basketball team, the Savoy Big Five, named for Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. He changed the team's name to the Harlem Globetrotters in the winter of 1927, placed his five players in a battered Model T Ford bought from a funeral director and took to the road. The team played its first game in Hinckley, Ill., and earned $75.

"We chose Harlem," Mr. Saperstein recalled many years later, discussing the team's name, "because, well, because Harlem was to the fellows what Jerusalem is to us. Anf Globetrotters? Well we had dreams. We hoped to travel. We made it, all right. We made it all the way to Israel, as a matter of fact."

The team didn't start making money - "We never missed a meal, but we postponed a lot of them" - until 1940. Before then, there were numerous hardships. Mr. Saperstein doubled as chauffeur, ball boy, even team substitute.

(Trademark)
Word Mark HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS
Goods and Services IC 041. US 107. G & S: ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES IN THE NATURE OF BASKETBALL EXHIBITIONS. FIRST USE: 19270000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19270000
Mark Drawing Code (5) WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS IN STYLIZED FORM
Serial Number 71571666
Filing Date January 5, 1949
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0542474
Registration Date May 15, 1951
Owner (REGISTRANT) A. M. SAPERSTEIN INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 192 NORTH CLARK STREET CHICAGO ILLINOIS
(LAST LISTED OWNER) HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS INTERNATIONAL, INC. CORPORATION BY ASSIGNMENT MINNESOTA 400 EAST VAN BUREN STE. 300 PHOENIX ARIZONA 85004

Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record RICHARD M. BERMAN
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECTION 8(10-YR) 20020215.
Renewal 3RD RENEWAL 20020215
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

(Trademark)
Word Mark HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS
Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: PRERECORDED AUDIO AND VIDEO TAPES FEATURING EXHIBITIONS OF PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL. FIRST USE: 19881000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19881000
IC 014. US 002 027 028 050. G & S: JEWELRY; NAMELY, LAPEL PINS. FIRST USE: 19881000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19881000

IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: PRINTED MATERIALS; NAMELY, PROGRAM BOOKS AND CALENDARS. FIRST USE: 19881000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19881000

IC 021. US 002 013 023 029 030 033 040 050. G & S: BEVERAGE SPORT BOTTLES MADE OF PLASTIC. FIRST USE: 19881000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19881000

IC 024. US 042 050. G & S: FABRIC PENNANTS AND FABRIC PENNANTS ATTACHED TO A STICK. FIRST USE: 19881000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19881000

IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: CLOTHING; NAMELY, CAPS, HEADBANDS, WRIST BANDS, SWEAT SHIRTS, TEE SHIRTS AND JACKETS. FIRST USE: 19881000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19881000

IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: SPORTING GOODS; NAMELY, BASKETBALLS; TOYS; NAMELY, INFLATABLE BALLS, POSABLE DOLLS AND BOOMERANGS MADE FROM PLASTIC. FIRST USE: 19881000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19881000

IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES IN THE NATURE OF BASKETBALL EXHIBITIONS. FIRST USE: 19881000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19881000

Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 75672216
Filing Date March 31, 1999
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition May 16, 2000
Registration Number 2374778
Registration Date August 8, 2000
Owner (REGISTRANT) HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS INTERNATIONAL, INC. CORPORATION MINNESOTA 400 East Van Buren, Suite 300 Phoenix ARIZONA 85004
Attorney of Record Stephen C Lee
Prior Registrations 0542473;0542474;1727168;2052581;AND OTHERS
Type of Mark TRADEMARK. SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE


Posted by Barry Popik
Sports/Games • (0) Comments • Saturday, November 27, 2004 • Permalink